Little details!

by Karen - Copy Writer for The Prop Factory

Thursday 5th March 2020 14:46:28


We've said it before and no doubt we'll say it again - we are proper 'prop snobs'. Not for us are 'off-the-shelf', 'see-it-everywhere' mass produced goods. We won't say that these don't have their place, but that place isn't with us. We pride ourselves on our eclectic and unique props and, having set ourselves these very high standards, we really do go the extra mile to make sure we live up to them. A lot of our props start life very large - giant wooden cutouts and chunky pieces of furniture are a regular sight in our workshop - but before we're done with them and they're ready to hire, much time has been spent on the tiny, intricate, time-consuming details. Sometimes quirky, sometimes beautiful, but always original, always fun and always full of personality, you really need to see our props up close to see all of this detail.

Self-confessed collectors of 'things', we see treasure where others see junk! We wouldn't be doing ourselves justice if we didn't embellish and adorn some of our props with our finds. A huge stash of plain wooden door knobs became a collection of red and white spotted toadstools that found their way to the underneath shelf of a previously owned mad hatters chair, with a White Rabbit, complete with his pocket watch and a scattering of pretty daisies.

The same toadstools have spilled out and made their way to other props. You'll most certainly find a few hidden in our wonderland-fairytale-enchanted circle arch. You'd need to spend a while to find all the goodies woven into this ridiculously well-decorated entranceway. If you look closely you can spot a teapot fit for a dormouse, tiny brass candlesticks, pots and all matter of gubbins, wooden chess pieces and, of course, more pocket watches.

Our arch is wound around with fake foliage, ivy vines and faux flowers that almost seem to have grown organically. They also pop up around the base of our giant toadstools - it's like a spring garden with pretty yellow flowers and bright green foliage sprouting from the log base.

It's not only things that we collect. Prop Factory director Carmen talked about her love of haberdashery in her Top 10 Props of 2019 blog and you can see the result of this all across our props. Beads, fringing and tassels gave our old decorative eye wall hangings a distinctly 1920s feel.

Bright lengths of ribbons and beads sway from dual coloured bright and festive hanging carnival stars.

Carmen collected gold stars in all sizes to bring the night sky to life for her favourite prop of the year - the most magnificent midnight stars backdrop (now sold sorry guys!). Each star had to be individually attached to the crushed velvet background!

The skulls are a perfect example of our love of combining our haberdashery with high tech printing techniques. We do love hand painting - more on that later - but we've recently discovered printing super-detailed design straight onto wood or fabric. Being us, we're not prepared to leave it as it is and it's the ideal base for more embellishment. From the golden fringing of his epaulettes through the real laces in his boots to his 'sheepskin rug' beard, this giant wooden 8ft nutcracker is a masterclass in fancy embellishment.

This wanted peep board banner would have looked mighty fine as it was, but we added sisal for a more 'Wild West' feel and purposely frayed it around the edges to look as though it had been around for ever.

Sometimes we know what we want, but we're not sure how to make it. A fair bit of trial and error goes on - it's all part of the creative process! But we persevere and try to get that fine detailing just right. Look at the splendidly shaggy mane of our wooden lion cutout - our amazing prop makers developed their own technique to build this using curtain tassels (back to the haberdashery again) and short lengths of sisal.We went above and beyond expectations to produce our Mary Poppins Replica Carpet Bag - no longer available. There was much watching and pausing of the film to produce as good a copy as you will find anywhere - in the shape of the bag, its opening and closing action, and its leather straps (that we reclaimed from a vintage suitcase). We even had the pattern bespoke printed onto real carpet. A lot of effort, you'll agree, but if a job's worth doing, as they say, it's worth doing well!We wanted our gingerbread house concertina panels to look as though we'd iced them - but how? After much deliberation, we did indeed pipe the finish onto the fabric. But using what? We won't give all our secrets away, but suffice to say our local builders' supplier came in handy. These got snapped up and sold very soon after making them, I mean they are delicious looking!

Not everything needs embellished detailing and we spend no less time making sure that our paintwork is tip-top. Look at the sunburst stripes of the duck range target game - perfectly spaced and the same design carried through from the back board to the leg supports - just lovely attention to detail.Our stylist Carys took home a plain white, but prettily decorative, table and returned it as this ornate white stand with strawberry detail with painted strawberries and leaves delicately picked out. Although no longer available still very pretty to look at!We have 26 peep boards that have all been hand painted by us - so you can be sure you won't see your photo opportunity popping up anywhere else. Each one is brimming with character and fun, but we do our best not to fall into cartoon caricature. Just look at the detail in our gingerbread house peep board.Not many of our props can boast quite as much decoration as the wonderland grandfather clock. A grandly ornate thing to begin with, our prop makers have taken inspiration from the ornate pattern of the clock face to add more embellishment to the side panels - simply delicious!Finally, not just because we think it's gorgeous, but because it sums up a lovely marriage of paintwork and embellishment - a peacock feather chair. The paintwork blends seamlessly from brilliant blue to sea green at the base and the back has been painted to resemble the eye of the peacock feathers that surround the outer edge - just dreamy!See all the props featured in this blog in one place here

Tags: Little Details Little Prop Details Prop Hire Prop Makers Creative Props Prop Hire Event Hire Party Props Workshop Prop Makers Workshop Prop Makers Details Embellishment Painting Beadwork Sewing Embroidery Ribbons Knitting Pom Poms Woodwork Fringing Tassels The Prop Factory